Shaken Baby Syndrome Debate-Article

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Shaken Baby Syndrome Article

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Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

Neuropsychological Performance 10 Years After Immunization in Infancy With Thimerosal-Containing Vaccines

PEDIATRICS Vol. 123 No. 2 February 2009, pp. 475-482

Abstract:

OBJECTIVE. Thimerosal, a mercury compound used as a preservative in vaccines administered during infancy, has been suspected to affect neuropsychological development. We compared the neuropsychological performance, 10 years after vaccination, of 2 groups of children exposed randomly to different amounts of thimerosal through immunization.

METHODS. Children who were enrolled in an efficacy trial of pertussis vaccines in 1992–1993 were contacted in 2003. Two groups of children were identified, according to thimerosal content in vaccines assigned randomly in the first year of life (cumulative ethylmercury intake of 62.5 or 137.5 µg), and were compared with respect to neuropsychological outcomes. Eleven standardized neuropsychological tests, for a total of 24 outcomes, were administered to children during school hours. Mean scores of neuropsychological tests in the domains of memory and learning, attention, executive functions, visuospatial functions, language, and motor skills were compared according to thimerosal exposure and gender. Standard regression coefficients obtained through multivariate linear regression analyses were used as a measure of effect.

RESULTS. Nearly 70% of the invited subjects participated in the neuropsychological assessment (N = 1403). Among the 24 neuropsychological outcomes that were evaluated, only 2 were significantly associated with thimerosal exposure. Girls with higher thimerosal intake had lower mean scores in the finger-tapping test with the dominant hand and in the Boston Naming Test.

CONCLUSIONS. Given the large number of statistical comparisons performed, the few associations found between thimerosal exposure and neuropsychological development might be attributable to chance. The associations found, although statistically significant, were based on small differences in mean test scores, and their clinical relevance remains to be determined.

 

Responses:

Il Mercurio and the AAP

An Addendum to February’s “First Read”

An Addendum to February’s “First Read”

It has been brought to my attention that in the study on thimerosal briefly highlighted below, I noted that groups did or did not get thimerosal and had similar results in terms of neuropsychological developmental outcomes. Reading of this study will indicate that both groups studied actually did have thimerosal in their vaccines, one group having 62.5 micrograms cumulative intake and the other 137.5 micrograms cumulative intake. While the amount of thimerosal in the lower group studied in Italy is less (according to the author of this study Dr. Tozzi) than the small amounts used in this country, I do want to correctly indicate there was no group studied that received no thimerosal whatsoever in their vaccines. The results of this study suggesting essentially minimal (if any) differences in developmental outcomes remains as stated–although a limitation as noted by Dr. Tozzi is that there was no comparison group with zero exposure to thimerosal. I appreciate the readers who have brought this to my attention so that I could more accurately clarify my interpretation of this study. Please read this article for yourself to learn more.

Truth or consequences about mercury

High levels of IgG4 antibodies to foods during infancy are associated with tolerance to corresponding foods later in life

High levels of IgG4 antibodies to foods during infancy are associated with tolerance to corresponding foods later in life

Pediatr Allergy Immunol 2009: 20: 35-41.

Abstract:

Children with eczema and sensitization to foods are recommended skin care and, if food allergy is proven by challenge, an elimination diet. For most children the diet period is transient, but the process behind tolerance development and the influence of decreased allergen exposure is not fully known. The aim of the study was to investigate the effect of elimination diet on serum and salivary antibodies and to identify immunological parameters related to the ability to tolerate foods. Eighty-nine children, below 2 yr of age, with eczema and suspected food allergy were included. Recommended treatment was skin care to all children, and 60 children had a period of elimination diet. At 4½ yr of age, the children were divided into two groups, based on if they had been able to introduce the eliminated foods, or not. Serum and salivary antibodies were analyzed with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and UniCAP® before and after a 6-wk treatment period and at 4½ yr of age. Children sensitized to egg and/or milk that could eat and drink the offending foods at 4½ yr of age, had higher levels of Immunoglobulin G4 antibodies to ovalbumin and β-lactoglobulin and also higher IgG4/Immunoglobulin E ratios on inclusion in the study, than those who had to eliminate egg and/or milk from their diet, beyond 4½ yr of age. The highest IgG4/IgE ratios were found in children with circulating IgE antibodies to egg and/or milk but negative skin prick test on inclusion. The 6-wk treatment period did not significantly affect the levels of serum and salivary antibodies. In conclusion, eczematous, food sensitized infants with high levels of IgG4 and high ratios of IgG4/IgE antibodies to food allergens are more likely to consume these foods at 4½ yr than infants with low levels and ratios.

Use Flaxseed to Boost Nutrition and Health

Use Flaxseed to Boost Nutrition and Health

If you’re interested in improving the quality of your diet, adding small amounts of flaxseed to your favorite foods is a quick and tasty way to accomplish your goal.

The flax plant is the source of fiber from which linen is woven, and it also yields edible seeds and oil. Flax has been part of the human diet for thousands of years, and for just as long, it has been valued for its health-promoting properties.

Flaxseed is a rich source of a number of beneficial nutrients, including vitamins, minerals and protein. With about 3 grams of fiber per tablespoon, flaxseed is a good source of roughage.

Adding more fiber to your diet can lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels, reducing the risk for heart disease and stroke. The combination of oil and fiber in flaxseed make it an excellent laxative and an effective remedy for sluggish bowels and chronic constipation.

Flaxseed contains plant estrogens called lignans. These natural compounds have been found to possess anti-tumor properties and appear to be especially beneficial in reducing the risk of breast and colon cancer.

In the body, lignans act as weak estrogens. Because their chemical structure is similar to the structure of the hormone estrogen produced by the female body, they’re capable of binding to the same cellular receptors.

When hormone-sensitive cells, including those of the breast and uterus, are occupied by the weak plant estrogens in flaxseed, they appear to be less susceptible to the cancer-causing effects of human estrogen.

While consumption of flaxseed is believed to help prevent breast cancer, researchers from the University of Toronto found that it also may be useful in the treatment of the disease. For their study, the Canadian scientists asked postmenopausal women who had been recently diagnosed with breast cancer to eat either a plain muffin or a muffin containing 25 grams of flaxseed every day for four weeks.

Women who ate the flaxseed muffins showed a significant reduction in the rate of tumor growth, as well as an increase in the death of cancerous cells. Based on their findings, the researchers concluded that dietary flaxseed has the potential to reduce tumor growth in women with breast cancer.

As plant estrogens, the lignans in flaxseed can help alleviate some symptoms of menopause.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic found that postmenopausal women who consumed 40 grams of crushed flaxseed daily for six weeks experienced a welcome 57 percent reduction in the frequency and severity of hot flashes.

The women also reported noticeable improvements in mood, as well as reductions in joint and muscle pain. Combined, the benefits of consuming flaxseed significantly improved their health-related quality of life.

Flaxseed is an important source of an essential omega-3 fatty acid known as alpha-linolenic acid. Because essential fatty acids cannot be manufactured by the human body, they must be obtained from the diet.

Hundreds of scientific studies performed over the last decade suggest that most Americans don’t get enough omega-3 fatty acids for good health. Increased consumption of these beneficial fats has been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels and decreasing the clotting potential of the blood.

The essential fatty acids in flaxseed have been credited with improving symptoms of dry eyes, psoriasis and eczema. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to possess potent anti-inflammatory properties, making flax a popular remedy for arthritis and other inflammatory diseases.

Flax is available at many supermarkets and most health food stores. Whole flaxseed can be eaten alone or added to other foods, but because the seeds may not be fully digested, other forms may be more beneficial.

Ground flaxseed is easier to digest and simple to use: You can add a tablespoon or two of ground flaxseed to hot or cold cereals or to a cup of yogurt. Adding a quarter-cup of ground flaxseed to recipes can boost the flavor and nutritional quality of baked goods, including muffins and breads, as well as meatloaf, chili and casseroles.

Flaxseed oil is best used as an ingredient in cold preparations, such as salad dressings and smoothies. While the oil is a good source of beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, it doesn’t contain the protein, fiber or lignans found in the seeds of the flax plant.

Adding a sprinkle of ground flaxseed or a dash of flaxseed oil to your favorite foods is a simple way to improve the quality of your diet. It’s also a smart strategy to enhance your overall health.

Rallie McAllister is a board-certified family physician, speaker and the author of several books, including “Healthy Lunchbox: The Working Mom’s Guide to Keeping You and Your Kids Trim.” Her website is http://www.rallieonhealth.com. To find out more about Rallie McAllister, M.D., and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

Pharma + Professional Persecution = Profits!

Pharma + Professional Persecution = Profits!

Pharmaceutical Industries have few morals when it comes to dealing with professionals who step over the line and try to expose the adverse reactions to their vaccines and drugs.Of course the drug companies do not work alone, they foster strong connections with Governments,who in turn influence the medical profession and even the media. This allows the freedom to pedal their wares without the fear of reprisal. A whistle blowing professional is a spanner in their well oiled works and must be silenced quickly and efficiently, the methods the drug companies often use to do this can only be described as barbaric.

Of course one of the best ways in which to silence a troublesome professional is for them to be discredited, for once their reputation is completely destroyed, then no one is going to listen to what they have to say. It is surprising how many professionals who speak out about a vaccine or a drug suddenly find themselves with unusual complaints being sent into their Governing bodies or who have their work attacked unexpectedly.

Here there are several professionals who have complained about various vaccines and suddenly found themselves having to face disciplinary action because of complaints sent in to their Governing bodies.

First let us look at the case of the General Practitioner Peter Mansfield who works for the charity Desumo. Desumo, offered single Measles, Mumps and Rubella vaccinations to parents who prefer them, to the MMR. Dr Mansfield was seen to be by many as a doctor with some controversial views on several health matters one being, that the MMR is unsafe.

He now joins the growing list of professionals that have been referred to their governing bodies for voicing their opinion and daring to speak out. His crime, to offer to parents who refuse to allow their children to have the MMR, single vaccinations instead. No big deal you may think but his actions infuriated the authorities who have invested vast sums of money into the MMR vaccination programme. His punishment for daring to go against them, was the General Medical Council dragging him up before the Intrim Orders committee, following a complaint from Worcester health authority, where Mansfield had been giving the the single jabs, alleging that he has been putting children “at risk” because his actions are “at variance with normal clinical practice”. The Department of Health does not permit the single measles vaccine on the NHS.

In a document called GMC Used by Pharma to Eliminate Competition Mr Clifford Miller a lawyer explains how the Pharmaceutical Industries use several organizations to eliminate practices and practitioners who go against Government policies. He writes:-

“There is information indicating that some parts of the pharmaceutical industry and medical professions have been targeting, and picking off one by one, doctors and others providing care and treatments which are not in the mainstream.Such treatments are likely to be less profitable to some parts of the drug industry and especially if they are allowed to become popular”

He continues to explain:-

“There is hard information which shows unequivocally that the ABPI (Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry) are implicated in setting up a case against Dr Wakefield and were involved with the Sunday Times behind the scenes, setting Dr Wakefield and colleagues up in 2003 for a GMC hearing before a word was printed by the Sunday Times in 2004. At the time it was an open boast that the ABPI were involved and were providing funding. Since then someone appears to have been trying (unsuccessfully) to batten down the hatches after the horse has bolted. There is also disturbing information regarding the case of Dr Peter Mansfield, who was also complained about to the GMC and had to face a hearing over the MMR vaccine.”

I have found many cases where professionals who have spoken out against various vaccines have had cases brought against them. Dr. Mark R. Geier, M.D., Ph.D., is president of Genetic Centers of America. He has been a consultant and expert witness in many cases presented to the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program and in civil litigation.

…How do pharmaceutical companies and their lackeys in industry, media, politics and the legal system get away with burdening society with masses of poisonous and dangerous drugs, whilst suppressing research into natural and safer alternatives?”

With drug companies like Eli Lilly obtaining court orders to hide documents that show the company illegally marketed Zyprexa for unapproved uses and failed to warn the public about the serious health risks associated with the drug for a decade Read here and TeenScreen rife in the USA giving the drug companies a free hand to pedal their drugs in schools. read here Seemingly able to use marketing ploys to fool parents that their children are mentally ill, whilst bribing their children with incentives such as free cinema tickets and treats, to fill in questionnaires. I feel there is just one question remaining and that is, just how far will our drug companies go, when persecuting the professionals who stand in their way of making big bucks?

Full Article

Parents Should Not be Legally Liable for Refusing to Vaccinate their Children

Parents Should Not be Legally Liable for Refusing to Vaccinate their Children

Jay Gordon 

* Fellow, American Academy of Pediatrics.
† Suggested citation: Jay Gordon, Commentary, Parents Should Not Be Legally Liable for Refusing to Vaccinate Their Children, 107 Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions 95 (2009), http://www.michiganlawreview.org/firstimpressions/vol107/diekema.pdf.

Introduction 

Should a parent who takes advantage of a personal belief exemption to avoid vaccinating a child be held liable if that child infects other people? No, because there are valid medical reasons for choosing this exemption and tracing direct transmission of these illnesses from an unvaccinated child to another person is virtually impossible. 

I have been a pediatrician in private practice for nearly thirty years. I was conventionally trained, completed a residency in pediatrics at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles and was the Senior Fellow in Pediatric Nutrition at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York City. Over many years, seeing thousands of children, my point of view about childhood vaccines has changed. I believe that parents have the right to decide when and how their children receive vaccinations and also have the right to decline any or all vaccines. Like many medical interventions, vaccines have risks and benefits, and parents may elect nonvaccination as the better choice for an individual child. The societal ramifications are significant and should certainly be a part of any discussion. 

When children or babies who have been in contact with other children (or adults) contract most illnesses, there is no feasible way to know from whom they got the disease. Whether one is talking about a routine winter viral illness, chickenpox, or whooping cough, the contagion could have come from a child with overt disease signs and symptoms, an asymptomatic carrier, or another, perhaps mutual, contact. Vaccines are not 100% effective, so that even a fully vaccinated child can contract an illness or carry that illness and give it to another child. Blaming a specific individual—let alone suing one—because your child gets sick has no credible medical basis.  

I. Parents May Be Justified in Declining to
Vaccinate Their Children

There are many valid reasons to support vaccination, but they don’t support removing the right to refuse vaccinations. There are also situations—medical and personal—which justify waiving all or some childhood vaccines, but these are not good reasons to abandon vaccines altogether.

Twenty states (including Michigan) allow parents to waive any or all vaccines for personal or philosophical reasons. These children may still attend school at all levels, but the school system reserves the right to exclude these children in the event of an outbreak. This is a firm commitment on the part of the government to protect the rights of parents to participate fully in this important healthcare decision. Parents who feel that the risks of vaccinating outweigh the benefits are entitled medically and legally to waive vaccines. Section 6051 of the California Code states that “[a] pupil with a permanent medical exemption or a personal beliefs exemption to immunization shall be admitted unconditionally.” Similar wording appears in most of the state laws allowing a personal belief exemption. These are not whimsical choices on the part of the legislators, the parents, or the doctors who support this right. Parents who vaccinate their children base their decisions on the advice they receive from their pediatricians and the other knowledge they have gathered. Parents who choose to waive vaccinations do so for similarly valid reasons.

Adverse outcomes can occur from both vaccination and nonvaccination. Vaccines work very well at creating immunity to illnesses, so there are very few situations that would likely lead to transmission of an illness from an unvaccinated child to a vaccinated child. The obvious exceptions would be infants too young to have received a full complement of shots and immuno-compromised children. Parents must protect these two groups of children by keeping them away from too many other children. Period. Newborns and young babies are at risk any time they are in public. We can only vaccinate against a very small minority of contagious illnesses; it is unwise to bring your newborn into preschool when you pick up your toddler, and equally risky to attend older children’s birthday parties with this baby. Further, parents of children taking high dose steroids for asthma or receiving immunosuppressive medicine for other diseases are strongly cautioned by their doctors to avoid the potential dangers I have described.

There are valid reasons for giving all the recommended vaccines, but parents’ ambivalence is supported not just by instinct or alleged self-interest but also by medical literature questioning the effectiveness of immunizations. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) funded a peer-reviewed article about flu shots published in the October 2008 issue of the highly respected Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. It concluded:

[S]ignificant influenza VE [vaccine effectiveness] could not be demonstrated for any season, age, or setting after adjusting for county, sex, insurance, chronic conditions recommended for influenza vaccination, and timing of influenza vaccination (VE estimates ranged from 7%–52% across settings and seasons for fully vaccinated 6- to 59-month-olds). . . . In 2 seasons with suboptimal antigenic match between vaccines and circulating strains, we could not demonstrate VE in preventing influenza-related inpatient/ED or outpatient visits in children younger than 5 years. Further study is needed during years with good vaccine match.

We have known for years that flu shots do not work well in older adults; newer research questions their efficacy in children, too. 

Another example involves chickenpox. The Varicella Zoster virus (“VZV”) causes chickenpox in children; the illness is virtually always benign and leaves the child with immunity to chickenpox. In adults, this virus also can cause “shingles,” an extremely painful illness. VZV can live in the nervous system for years and then reactivate in adults whose immune systems no longer suppress it.  

Fortunately, continued occasional exposure to children with chickenpox usually keeps the antibody level against the virus high enough so that shingles is not terribly common. That is the state of medical care in most of Europe where governments and the medical establishment have refused to officially recommend universal vaccination against chickenpox. Among many studies supporting this refusal is a report in the prestigious medical journal Vaccine written by researchers at Britain’s Public Health Laboratory Service, who found that “eliminating chickenpox in a country the size of the United States would prevent 186 million cases of the disease and 5,000 deaths over 50 years. However . . . they said it could also result in 21 million more cases of shingles and 5,000 deaths.”

Of course, we have been quite successful in reducing certain childhood diseases to almost insignificant numbers in the United States, Western Europe, and many other places. (Somalia experienced its first polio-free year in 2008.) And widespread vaccination directly led to this success. 

In March 2005, Julie Gerberding, Director of the CDC, held a press conference to announce that “[t]he elimination of rubella in the United States is a tremendous step in protecting the health and well being of pregnant women and infants.” A viral illness feared by pregnant women “is no longer considered to be a major public health threat in the United States.”  

Another success story involves measles. The United States averages about 60 cases of this viral illness each year. In 2008, the country is on course to have about 160 cases among 300 million Americans. However, the media have managed to turn these extra 100 cases into a cause célèbre for vilifying parents who question the currently recommended schedule of twenty-five or more separate injections over the first two years of life.  

In 1960, if a parent were presented with a dilemma about the polio vaccine and hypothetical side effects, the decision would not have been too difficult given the prevalence of polio during that time period. In 2008 or 2009, the illness is rare worldwide: we are on target for about 1700 cases on the entire planet in 2008 with all but 100 of the cases being in India,
Nigeria, Pakistan, Angola, or Afghanistan. The benefits, both personal and societal, of the polio vaccine were so clear thirty or forty years ago that parents and doctors easily agreed on universal vaccination.

“Childhood vaccines save 33,000 lives each year in the United States.” This statement has been made so often that no one seems to question the absence of logical thinking behind it. The numbers are based on medical care in the early to mid-1900s. There is no way to estimate how many lives vaccines are saving, and a similar estimate of harm from vaccines is difficult to calculate. As a result, a parent’s decision not to vaccinate a child is being unfairly vilified. 

II. Parents Should Not Be Liable for Placing Their Children’s Best Interests Above Universal Vaccination Policies  

In the absence of facts, doctors and others are trying to frighten people into vaccinating or not vaccinating. That fear includes the notions that unvaccinated children pose a great threat to others and that parents of these children are not being responsible. In fact, these parents are choosing what they consider to be the safest course of action for their children and pose very little, if any, danger to other children and adults. 

Some medical interventions are not controversial, and some prompt only mild controversy. For example, if a child has acute lymphocytic leukemia, the cure rate with conventional medical care approaches ninety percent, and very few doctors or parents will argue against the standard treatments offered in spite of their known complications and adverse reactions. But vaccines are presently controversial, and purported truths about safety and efficacy are challenged daily by lay people and physicians. 

Very few medical actions are risk free. Prior to surgery or when medication is prescribed, your doctor explains the risks and benefits. For surgery, the consent form is often many pages long with dire warnings about what can go wrong. Childhood vaccines are shipped to my office with a long thin package insert detailing how the shots are manufactured, what they contain, and what can and has gone wrong. The last lines in many of these inserts sound ominous: “This vaccine has not been evaluated in animals for its carcinogenic or mutagenic potentials or for impairment of fertility.” I seriously doubt that vaccines are a large source of cancer, genetic mutation, or impaired fertility. However, any time I inject a vaccine into a child there is potential for adverse outcome. I respect parents’ questions and objections to our current vaccine schedule. Parents have the absolute right to participate in these medical discussions, and not giving them the information they need to make informed decisions is inadequate medical care. Not seeking out this information is an abrogation of parental responsibilities. 

The list of side effects from adverse reactions to vaccines, in a Physicians’ Desk Reference “warning” section, given out of context, would probably frighten many parents out of vaccinating at all. There are thirty or more items on that list. Similarly, the list of symptoms and complications of the illnesses against which we vaccinate could scare parents into giving every shot available as soon as possible.

Pediatricians and other physicians use the latter option on a daily basis. I share my colleagues’ disdain for scare tactics from the “antivaccine” camp, but I object equally to doctors using fear and misinformation to try to convince parents (and legislators) that vaccines are risk free. Both sides are distorting the truth for their own purposes. Childhood illnesses are part of the first decade of life; immunity is acquired, and the consequences are almost always minor.  

Modern medical care has completely changed the morbidity and mortality rates associated with virtually every single infectious disease. Yet, the “33,000” number is used in the media as if we actually know how many children would succumb to these illnesses in the absence of vaccines in the twenty-first century. We do not really have any idea what this number would actually be with twenty-first century medications and care. And unvaccinable diseases are far, far more common and, realistically, a greater concern for parents: toddlers get eight to ten or more colds each year. To restate a very important point, even vaccinated children can carry diseases like pertussis and mumps. There are no completely reliable medical or laboratory tests showing who infected whom. 

Conclusion 

Vaccines work. They carry some risk but are a viable method of preventing contagious diseases. Parents who choose not to vaccinate their children accept responsibility for their actions, do not endanger others, and must retain this right. There is no medical basis for holding them liable.